“I hate you”. The three words every parent dreads.
A certain degree of opposition is unavoidable when bringing up a teen; however, when fights become a regular occurrence, there is no way around the truth – you are raising a defiant child. While the statistic is hardly comforting, having a defiant child under your roof is far from rare: as a matter of fact, up to 16% of children exhibit defiant behavior. Fortunately, as a parent, there are several steps that can be taken to regain control of the situation.
Carrot and… Smaller Carrot
One of the key things to remember when dealing with a defiant child, is to stay positive. Although it may be tempting to lose your temper, by doing so, you are giving in to the game your defiant child wants you to play. Instead, focus on reinforcement over punishment. Reward your child for following rules, and do not dwell on the negatives. In many cases, a defiant child merely wants the attention – by ignoring the tantrums, you make throwing them less appealing.
Often, problems with defiant children can be addressed through communication. In many cases, defiance is a result of a deeper issue – the child feeling powerless, for instance, or trouble at school. By making your child feel safe, you encourage them to speak to you about what is on their mind. In many situations, getting to the source of the issue can help deal with the bigger picture.
Keeping Your Authority
While rewards encourage your child to shift toward healthier patterns, it is also important to set boundaries. If a defiant child attempts to bargain, the worst thing to do is to give in. As the parent, you have to stay strong and once you set limits, abide by them. Remember to stay fair, however – stricter punishments rarely yield better results.
If your defiant child has gone out of control, it may be time to consider professional help.
Asheville Academy for Girls, one of the top therapeutic boarding schools for girls, can help your daughter find success. Our therapeutic boarding school has helped hundreds of girls become healthier and happier.